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Deep in debt and want to retire. Should we "walk away"?

Q: We have a house in Florida. Purchased for $135K five years ago. Recent evaluation was $78K. We owe about $100K on the mortgage and about $70K on an equity loan. We are 68 and 72 and still work to keep our payments going. We have credit about 780 each. We have no other assets; we have an old car, no investments, savings etc. Can we walk away from all of this and rent an inexpensive apartment or house someplace else in order to finally stop working?

A: We cannot advise you to walk away from your obligation as a course of action; you should contact a lawyer to get some information as to any legal ramification of this choice. You should also know that the damage to your credit score may make it difficult to rent an apartment, since many professionally-managed complexes use your score as a basis. A question, though: As you were tapping all the equity out of your home and then some, raising your debt obligations substantially over the last five years, how did you plan on paying for it without working?

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Keith Gumbinger
Keith Gumbinger
Mortgage Expert
Vice President, HSH.com
About Keith: Mortgage market observer and analyst with 35 years experience... (more)
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